Sunday, June 11, 2017

Good old fashioned RR

Posted at the request of a buddy.  Road race.  Race report.  Take your pick.  Do people still write these?

The Setup

I decided to dig into a run phase having mostly biked the last few years.  Dig in and see what level of speed I can grab before I get old.  I picked Rock n Sole half marathon, and signed up for the McMillan plan provided through Strava Premium membership.

Side note, I had spent years wondering why people would organize events selling riding or running over the Hoan bridge.  I didn't see the allure.  I figured it was time to try it so I could either complain or be amazed.  (that was the nice way of saying I didn't think I'd enjoy running over the bridge).

The Training

I really dug in and just did the plan.  Often I would look at workouts and wonder if I could do them. Program them into my watch, and just do my best to follow them.  I would come back surprised from many of the tempo workouts that I hung in there.  Those were very inspiring. Meanwhile, the long slow runs would leave me wondering if I could really dig in and do it.  It was pretty funny how much my attitude and confidence would swing between the different runs.  In the end I kept at it and trusted the plan.


I went in really wanting to get under 2:00.  I have a previous time at a 1/2 of 2:03 (2013).  A good solid effort, and I thought sub 2:00 very doable.  I even went in thinking I could surprise myself.

The Event

I biked 4-5 miles down to the start (a nice easy warm up for a 7:00 am run).  Locked up and headed to the start gate about 10 min prior to the gun going off.  I was hydrating, but maybe not overly so.  There are rules and there are "how long is the line for the porta?".  It's always about balance.  

I live for the national anthem.  It always gets me.  It was nicely sung, but I was a little disappointed it was sang 15+ min prior to start.. I heard it while I was walking into the event.

Once in the gate, it's all the normal stuff.  Stay calm, take a crowd selfie, breathe and stretch out the nervous energy.

Good crowd.  Gun goes off!  At this point I could use some experience running with the crowd.  I'm certain there were some pacing challenges trying to stay steady and also just sit in behind someone and check out.  Once the crowd thinned out (mile 3ish?) this was less of a problem.

Then the bridge.  I built it up to be terrible.  So what I experienced was pretty fun.  It wasn't entirely a death march in the sun going up a giant concrete, shadeless hill. The view is pretty cool.  I don't want to oversell it, but it was worth at least one good go.

Running down the Hoan I sped up a bit and think I maybe was still on pace, or close to get sub 2:00.  The temps were warming up and I sensed it would be tight and I'd need to gut it out.  I'm not a small guy and heat is my nemesis.  I wasn't thinking about that, but this would be the time to dig in.  I saw a few people I knew and that sparked a couple surges to stay in it.  

The rest of the race is on roads I've run tons.  It's always different once your out there in an event.  The people, the timing, the racing effort.  I spent the next miles trying to stay focused, sometimes well, sometimes not.  

Love the bands.  Great way to get you out of your head and just smile.  Only thing is I wish you could listen to them longer.

At some point I knew I was out of the sub 2:00.  As they say, have time goals, run at them but once the gun goes off, forget them.  This race was a good day to learn that lesson.  At this point I was just trying to stay on the gas and smile.

Then before you know it done!


Ride home.  Stop and say "Hi" to some of my best race supporters at the coffee shop on the way.  Shower, and get on with the day.

What I may have learned

Part of what I was looking for is to determine what my future goals should be.  A good solid marathon?  Could I improve speed enough to start saying the words Boston Qualifier (no)?  Or dive back into another half to try to improve speed more so?

Well this ends the run specific portion of my season and I have a few months to decide what 2018's will look like.  But, here's what I've come away with.

I feel really good about training hard and getting run strong.  And doing well on a tough day even if my numbers aren't what I wanted.  And I had fun.  This leaves me to imagine a strong but not super fast marathon in my future.   I'll take it.